Holidays and mental health

The holiday period is a time for relaxation and happiness, where people catch up with family and friends and take a rest from work. Unfortunately, for many people the holiday period is not all about positivity and can instead have a negative impact on their mental health. This guide outlines some of the reasons why people may find the holiday period tough and what problems may arise. It also suggests some tips that may help to reduce the impact the holidays have on your mental health.

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Childhood Trauma

Unfortunately many people worldwide are subjected to childhood trauma, both intentionally and unintentionally, each year. Whilst for some people this trauma is a bad memory that they have moved past, for others the effects of this trauma can stay with them for an extended period of time, often into adulthood. This can lead to conditions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can greatly limit a person’s life. This guide looks at childhood trauma and PTSD, discussing the symptoms that may be seen in children and adults, as well as discussing some treatment options. If you do read this brochure and feel that your experiences and current symptoms match those of PTSD then we encourage you to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Please also consider that certain aspects discussed in this brochure may act as a trigger for those already experiencing PTSD or PTSD like symptoms. Please be aware of this and stop reading if you feel the brochure is upsetting you.

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Bullying

Bullying can be described as the intentional hurting of a person or people by another person or group on a regular basis, resulting in the creation of a one-sided power relationship. Bullying can take many forms, including physical violence, verbal abuse and psychological abuse. Bullying can be done in-person, or via other means, e.g. on social media or the internet (known as cyberbullying). Cyberbullying takes bullying out of the classroom or the school playground and follows the victim home, resulting in 24-hour-a-day abuse.

Although a lot of research focuses on school children, it is important to remember that bullying is not unique to children. Adults can be bullied and bullies to adults or children. This guide focuses on research into bullying of and by younger adults and children. Also included is a section showing statistics on adult bullying in the workplace.

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Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that can cause a sufferer to experience bouts of deep depression interspersed with periods of mania or hypomania. Changes between the two extreme moods can be greatly distressing to the sufferer and can interfere with daily life. Bipolar disorder is a serious and often dangerous condition that should be treated professionally and medically. Unfortunately, when a person is in a stage of mania they may not believe they are unwell. It is therefore important for both the sufferer and those around them to be aware of some of the basic aspects of bipolar disorder. This guide provides information for those wishing to learn more about it and will outline some of the symptoms. It will also highlight potential causes, current statistics and available treatments. If you do suspect that you have bipolar disorder then we would encourage you to speak to your GP or other medical professional as soon as possible.

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Autism and ADHD

Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are both conditions that affect a person from an early age and can greatly impact their development and social functioning. Whilst these disorders are often found independently of one another you will notice when reading this brochure that they do share some similarities and in some cases these conditions will both affect a single individual at the same time. They both unfortunately do not yet have a cure, but instead therapies and treatments exist to manage the symptoms and to improve the quality of life of the sufferer. This guide outlines the basics of each of these disorders, as well as showing how often they occur and what medical and non-medical treatments are available.

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Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is an anxiety related disorder that revolves around a disproportionate fear of situations in which a person may struggle to escape. Whilst it is often referred to as simply a fear of open spaces, and may still wrongly be seen as a type of panic disorder, it is in fact much more complex than this and can apply to situations such as leaving the house, standing in line or using public transport. Individuals with agoraphobia tend to associate fear with certain places, often evaluating them to be much more dangerous than they are. There is very little research available on Agoraphobia, nevertheless this guide highlights what is currently known and what treatments are available.

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Homelessness

When people think of homelessness they tend to think of people living on the streets. But there are much broader definitions of homelessness for people who only have temporary housing, or live in sheltered housing, and for people who couch surf or stay in hotels and motels, to list just a few. With all these definitions it can sometimes be difficult to gather accurate information on the full scale of the problem. While this guide focuses solely on statistics relating to street sleeping, we acknowledge that homelessness is a much bigger issue. It is also important to acknowledge that due to the transient nature of homelessness it can often be difficult to ascertain accurate or long term statistics, which limits the production of accurate information. We also acknowledge that mental illness can render a person unable to give consent to take part in studies. So when reading this brochure, it’s important to keep all these points in mind.

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Mental health in minority populations

For some time, minority populations have been more susceptible to mental health problems, and have received  insufficient treatment from their health care networks. This brochure will outline some of the potential problems, and consider some of the reasons why people of a minority background may be averse to seeking treatment. We will also look at some potential improvements that have been suggested, or are now being implemented.

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) are both anxiety related disorders that revolve around intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Due to their similarities we will discuss these two disorders together. Unfortunately, media representation has often led to a distortion in what people believe these disorders to be and as such we will attempt to correct these mistaken views.

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PTSD in the military and veterans

When people think of mental illness in the military it is unsurprising that many of them think of Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD), formerly known as shell shock. Whilst this may not be the most commonly occurring condition in those who have served, it’s the one the general public tend to associate with the armed forces. For this reason, we have decided to publish this guide focusing on PTSD in the military, which can be read independently, or in conjunction with our guide on mental health in the armed forces.

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